For not one year, not two years, but three years in a row, J-DHS senior Anka Chiorini has advanced to nationals in the ESU National Shakespeare Competition. Started in 1983 and self defined as a “performance-based education program,” the ESU National Shakespeare Competition holds competitions at school, regional, and national levels. This was the first year Chiorini participated where all events were held in person, due to COVID interfering with in person events the previous years.
Chiorini’s path to winning has not always been guaranteed. In fact, freshman year Chiorini competed and won the school level, but did not place at the regional Syracuse competition. “Reapplying is always a bit scary. I put a lot of pressure on myself to top my previous performances, so choosing pieces is really difficult. But I’ve learned a lot in the past few years and it gets easier and easier to prepare for each round of the competition now that I know what to expect and how I best learn pieces. Each year I hope to go as far as I can and just perform to the best of my ability at each stage of the competition,” says Chiorini.
But what prompted Chiorini to apply in the first place? Both of Chiorini’s parents work in theater; her father teaches Shakespeare at LeMoyne. Chiorini said that because of this she grew up around a lot of Shakespeare, so applying felt natural.
This year since the musical dates fell later in the spring then previous years, Chiorini’s preparation was delayed. This year she performed Romeo’s monologue from act 3 scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet and Sonnet 43. Chiorini says, “I thought these pieces were a really interesting pairing because they touch on some similar themes in very different ways. My sonnet almost feels like a continuation of my monologue. It’s also just fun to do an angrier monologue. I tend to veer towards comedy, so some drama is a nice change of pace.”
Chiorini will graduate from J-DHS this spring, and continue her academic pursuits in the fall at Oberlin College in Ohio.